The AidanEyewitness blog is the diary of a multilingual content creator and coach. In this blog I want to share some background information about my educational and creative activities, and hopefully provide useful information that’s helpful to others.
I’ve been interested in aviation since I was a child. I grew up not far from Manchester Airport directly under the final approach path.
I often imagined myself in the role of airline pilot but I never had the confidence to go through with it. I felt my skills were better suited to helping others through teaching and creating content, both written and photographic.
The dream of flying a plane remained a fantasy, but thanks to modern technology, there is now a way fulfil the fantasy and that is to go into a flight simulator. The problem is that many professional flight simulators used for pilot training are extremely expensive.
But then I found out about Simulator Adventures in Salford Quays and discovered that it wasn’t as expensive as I had thought to spend an hour or two in the simulator.
As it was coming up to my birthday I decided to purchase myself 1 1/2 hours in the flight simulator. It cost me £171.50, with a special discount.
My simulator flight was delayed for several months, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but eventually, they were able to re-open and I was able to make a firm booking.
I had planned to produce a video to capture the experience. It would be similar to the cockpit videos I often watch on YouTube. But how would it fit into the theme of AidanEyewitness? My main interest is capturing the character and identity of the city. The airport is an essential element as it’s the gateway to the world. Also, I wanted to capture aerial views over the Manchester-Liverpool area. That’s something I’m fascinated with every time I fly.
On the day of the simulator flight, I brought with me two iPhones and that was enough to capture the experience. My daughter sat in the back seat as I took to the air in the simulator and captured video on her phone.
I held my iPhone 12 in my hand as I was flying – not a good thing to do whether in charge of a car or a jet airliner. Eventually, I positioned it in front of us, under the front window.
It was an incredible experience but I must also admit that I felt confused and disoriented. Our Trainer Alan gave exact instructions in order to input the flight plan, set the plane up for take-off and fly it, exactly as it would be on a real flight. But the experience was so realistic, I felt a sense of anxiety and confusion.
I remarked to Alan that there seem to be all awful lot to remember. He agreed but reassured me that it all becomes routine when you are an experienced pilot. When you’re driving a car for the first time it can be equally as confusing.
If there were a real-life emergency and I had to fly the plane, following instructions from the ground, would I be able to land the aircraft safely operating the sidestick, which costs 50,000 euros! Watch and find out!
I was interested to see what level of visual detail the simulator was able to create. I found was that there was quite good detail but, I’m told, not as much detail as in the latest versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
And to enjoy that level of detail, you would have to purchase the scenery for your chosen airports and cities. This simulator runs on a different system, but they may be able to introduce a more detailed virtual environment in the future. In the meantime, the views are still very very impressive and they really do give you the feeling that you are flying in a real aircraft. The sound effects are also excellent.
Since taking the flight simulator experience I have begun to learn more about the Airbus cockpit and its many displays, switches and controls so that by the time I visit the simulator again, I think I’ll have a much better idea of what to do.
Everyone should have the opportunity to fly a plane. It’s educational, fun and in the words of the guest before us ‘It really blew my mind’.
Whether you gift it to yourself as a special treat, or to someone else, maybe a young person who is interested in a career as a pilot, it could be life-changing.
Simulator Adventures was founded by twin brothers Alan and Stewart who grew up under the flight path to Glasgow Airport. They’ve dedicated their professional lives to creating the best possible simulator experience at the most cost-effective price, and I think they’ve done a great job.
So please watch the video and see how well I did. Please comment and don’t forget to like and subscribe.
There is also a German version of the video which I made for my German language students and I’ve got a PDF with the script, a side-by-side translation, vocab and questions. It’s only available to my students. If you would like to become a student of mine to learn German, please get in touch.